Cerebral palsy (CP) has increased in infants born prematurely in the US, according to data presented by researchers from Loyola University Health System (LUHS). These findings were reported at the 30th Annual Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Chicago. They also were published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Researchers reported that CP is associated with inflammation of the connective tissue in the umbilical cord. This inflammation is more common in premature births from preterm labor and premature rupturing of the amniotic sac versus early deliveries due to preeclampsia. Premature births from preterm labor and rupturing of the amniotic sac also are often associated with infections while preeclampsia is not.
"These findings are valuable, as we continue to study the link between premature births and cerebral palsy," said John Gianopolous, MD, chair, Mary Isabella Caestecker professor and chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, LUHS. "While further investigation is needed, managing inflammation may reduce the risk of certain complications in these infants."
CP is a disorder that impairs movement due to brain damage. This condition typically develops by age 2 or 3. More than 500,000 Americans have CP, and it is one of the most common causes of chronic childhood disability.
Researchers evaluated 222 preterm placentas for this study. Reasons for premature births were categorized into four groups: premature rupture of the amniotic sac or preterm labor; preterm preeclampsia; maternal disease related to heart complications; and uncomplicated births of multiples. Of those patients who went into preterm labor or had their amniotic sac rupture early, 30 percent had an inflamed umbilical cord compared with only 3 percent of patients with preeclampsia.
LUHS maternal-fetal medicine specialists conducted this study. These physicians work in conjunction with neonatologists, geneticists and obstetrical anesthesiologists to provide care for patients with medical or surgical complications during pregnancy.
To schedule an appointment with a LUHS maternal-fetal medicine specialist, call (888) LUHS-888.
Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, Loyola University Health System is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and 25 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 561-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-bed community hospital, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness and the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Care Center.